District 7 Update – the next municipal election, the new fast ferry, HAF proposal, more

In this issue

My Council Update includes info about the next municipal election, the new fast ferry, the housing accelerator fund proposed changes, CAPABLE, Windsor Street Exchange, and March Break.

Public Engagement section shows Council and Budget meetings.  Roadworks info has been updated and Community Events & Information includes some new events and upcoming important dates.

Councillor Update

Hi everyone,

It’s with a bit of a heavy heart that I want to let you know I will not be running to be your Councillor in the next election. I hope to continue to serve our community and the municipality in some fashion. It’s been a huge honour and privilege to represent District 7 for the last 12 years but it is time for new challenges!

There are however eight months, a ton of work, and this year’s budget yet to go, the work is not done!  While it is an election year, I will conduct one last Participatory Budgeting this year with a reduced amount. Information on the website has been updated: https://wayemason.ca/pb

Speaking of Budget, this is the last week of our budget process. I am pretty pleased with the outcome so far, especially the funding of alternatives to police responding to mental health and other non-criminal calls.  As always, I apologize for how my response time slowed during this six-week slog, but we’ve made it through and normal service should be back next week!


Every four years, the municipality holds an election for Regional Council (Mayor and Councillors) and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP) Members. The 2024 Municipal and CSAP Election will take place on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2024.

Municipalities play a critical role in our day-to-day lives. With the Halifax Regional Municipality being home to over 480,000 residents spanning over 5,400 square kilometres, the role of municipal government has a direct impact on the lives of those who live, work and invest in the municipality. From recreation to transportation to development and waste collection — and beyond.

Running for public office at the municipal level provides a platform to amplify the voices of those within your community and advocate for issues that matter the most to you and your neighbours.

For more information visit https://halifax.ca/election or email me and let’s have a coffee and chat!


Councillors attend the Fast Ferry annoucement

Today HRM’s plan for the Mill Cove fast ferry received full funding! This is a good day for the people of Hammonds Plains, Bedford, Sackville, and Fall River. It’s because of hard work that we are here today. The people who live in the suburbs have waited a long time for reliable, affordable transit they’re going to get it now! This will also benefit folks making their way to Bedford to work at RBC, IBM or any of the other employment centres there.

This is the first of HRMs three proposed fast ferry routes and bus rapid transit network.

I am especially proud of the dogged determination of Councillor Tim Outhit, who made sure that some form of alternative was developed and now is being built.  Thank you for your decades-long commitment!

The federal government is investing $155,686,984 through the Public Transit Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program. The Government of Nova Scotia is investing $65,000,000 and HRM is contributing $38,974,016. .

The Mill Cove Ferry Service Project includes the design and construction of the terminals and procurement of ferries. This announcement marks an important milestone in the project and further advances the progress towards HRM’s Rapid Transit Strategy and Integrated Mobility Plan.


I wrote a long letter to staff with my thoughts as the elected official representing District 7, the regional centre, and all HRM regarding the proposed HAF changes.  I shared what have learned about concerns raised by residents throughout the process.  I think I captured much of what I’ve heard from residents, both for and against the changes.

As I say in the letter “I know that now is the time for bold changes to address the housing crisis, and after writing an explainer of the proposed changes I’ve certainly received a great deal of feedback….

Apart from the university areas and Fenwick CEN zone, this is generally still true to what was proposed in the Centre Plan with the intensity dialled up with more height or units for density.  The proposal by and large reads as an increase in development allowed in the regional centre while still generally using the Centre Plan findings, mapping, zoning, and design guidelines.

I don’t see this as walking away from the Centre Plan. It’s what would have happened in the Center Plan eventually, but 25 years earlier than we thought we might need it, as we are now growing at an unprecedented rate.  Much of what is proposed in the rest of the serviced area, or suburban area, is logical and is the kind of thing that will flow from the suburban plan.

While this largely builds on the good work and community engagement done to get Centre Plan adopted there are some things I think should be changed, which I outline below.”

I have made what I think are important suggestions for changes in the ER zones and around the universities, as well as some other observations, like whether it makes sense to have a height limit AND use FAR (it doesn’t).  You can read my submission here (CORRECTED): https://wayemason.ca/2024/02/21/my-letter-to-staff-regarding-housing-accelerator-fund-minorrev-2023-0106/


Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders (or CAPABLE) is a home-based program that improves in-home safety and function so that people over the age of 65 having difficulty with activities of daily living can remain independent in their own homes longer.

The client receives an initial home visit by the CAPABLE team to identify areas within their home that can be modified to improve their health, safety and day-to-day life. The CAPABLE team consists of a registered nurse, an occupational therapist, and a handy-worker who will work with the client over a period of four to five months to set goals and direct action plans. Each follow-up visit will build on the one before, focused on increasing the client’s quality of life, safety and independence at home by learning new skills, exercises and how to work with additional tools/equipment/home modifications and repairs. This program is available at no cost to the client.

*CAPABLE is an evidence-based program brought to you as a one-year pilot by VON in partnership with Nova Scotia’s Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care and on behalf of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. https://von.ca/en/capable


There was progress on the Windsor Street Exchange redevelopment project last week. HRM put out a call for interested companies to submit their qualifications for rebuilding the intersection. The Windsor Street Exchange is not only a key gateway to downtown Halifax and Dartmouth, it’s also the main gateway to the Fairview Cove Container Terminal. Because of its importance to the port, this project has already secured millions in federal funding. The Province of Nova Scotia, CN Rail and HRM will also contribute to the project.

The Windsor Street Exchange handles about 48,000 vehicles a day and it’s overcapacity at peak times. Drivers have to do a lot of weaving to get through the Exchange and one fender bender can cause chaos. Previous plans for the redevelopment included increasing capacity to about 100,000 vehicles per day, while improving public transit flow and providing a safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists.

Rebuilding the Windsor Street Exchange is a complex project and HRM is taking a new approach. Instead of hiring one company to do the design and another company to do the construction, HRM is looking for a single company to do a “Progressive Design Build” which includes both the design and the construction.

There are several benefits of a Progressive Design Build approach such as faster completion and lower risk of cost overruns because one company will take sole responsibility for the final product. Once a company is hired, the design could take 8-12 months, with construction possibly starting in 2025. Once underway, construction is expected to take 2-3 years.


Looking for fun things to do over March Break?

Halifax Public Libraries have plenty of activities planned! Check out their What’s On Calendar for free events and activities for the whole family to enjoy—at-home and in person! Visit their website to explore and register: https://bit.ly/3vntwGg

Halifax Rec also has an awesome lineup of March Break programs at the Power House Youth Centre! Most workshops are free, but be space is limited so be sure to register to save your spot. Visit www.halifax.ca/powerhouse for a full list of events and registration info.

Check out Discover Halifax for more ideas and announcements! https://discoverhalifaxns.com/plan/kids/marchbreak/

That’s it for now!  Please be safe, be kind, and be patient,


Public Meetings, Hearings & Engagement

Halifax Regional Council – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers or Virtual.
If you want to read reports coming to Regional Council (posted mid-day Friday prior to the Tuesday meeting) or to check the agenda. Upcoming meetings:

  • Tuesday March 5 10am
  • Tuesday March 19 10am
  • Tuesday March 26 10am

Agendas here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=127

Blue background with and orang graphic of a checklist and calculator, with the words budget participation virtual participation available

Budget Committee – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers

As the Halifax is well into budget deliberations, the importance of resident participation cannot be overstated. The municipal budget is not just a financial plan; it’s a reflection of community priorities, needs, and aspirations. When residents actively engage in the budget process, they contribute to the shaping of policies and the allocation of resources that directly impact their daily lives.

Learn more about the 2024/2025 Municipal Budget here: https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/budget-finances/budget

Would you like to speak during Public Participation?  There are two opportunities to sign up as a speaker for in-person Public Participation:

Option 1: Register in advance
Zoom is available as an option for pre-registered speakers only.

  • Contact the Municipal Clerk’s Office no later than 4:30 p.m. the day before the next Budget Committee 2023 meeting:
  • Send an email to clerks@halifax.ca If you’re signing up via email and you don’t receive a response from us within one business day, phone our office at 902.490.4210 to confirm receipt. Please ensure you check your email’s junk/spam folder regularly.
  •  Phone 902.490.4210 (Mon-Fri, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
  •  Fax 902.490.4208 and include a call back phone number or email.

Option 2: During the meeting
During the meeting, after all the pre-registered speakers have been called, the Chair will call three times to ask if there is anyone else present who would like to speak. If you are present in the meeting room you can indicate your wish to speak at that time.

PLEASE NOTE:  All Budget Committee meetings will be audio and/or video recorded for the purpose of creating a record of the proceedings.   If you do not wish to be recorded, do not sign up to speak; you can provide a written submission via clerks@halifax.ca

  • Wednesday, March 6 (Contingency: Friday, March 8) – Business Unit and Budget Presentation: Community Safety; Fiscal
  • Tuesday, April 2 (Contingency: Wednesday, April 3) – Budget Adjustment List (BAL) Review
  • Tuesday, April 23 (Contingency: Tuesday, April 30) – Budget Approval

Halifax & West Community Council – Halifax City Hall, Council Chambers
Community Council meets on Tuesday evenings alternating with Regional Council. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations, and times.

  • Monday, March 25 6pm

Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140

Regional Centre Community Council – Harbour East Marine Drive Room, Alderney Landing
Community Council meets on Tuesday evenings alternating with Regional Council. Please check the webpage here for agendas (usually available a week before the meeting), locations, and times.

  • Wednesday, March 27 6pm if required

Agenda here – https://www.halifax.ca/city-hall/agendas-meetings-reports?category=140

Halifax Peninsula Planning Advisory Committee & Design Advisory Committee
The Nova Scotia government has suspended the meeting of planning advisory committees and most forms of public engagement in planning for three years, ending April 2025.

Information about how to watch or participate in virtual meetings can be found on the agenda pages. Please confirm meeting dates and times on our website as dates and times are subject to change.

Roadworks Update

Map of closed roads and sidewalks in District 7


Projects continue to be started: You can find out road closure details on the HRM Roadworks map:https://www.halifax.ca/transportation/streets-sidewalks/RoadWorks

  • MONASTERY LANE from QUINPOOL RD to YALE ST, starting on 2024-03-04
  • GRANVILLE ST from PRINCE ST to SACKVILLE ST, starting on 2024-03-04
  • QUINPOOL RD from OXFORD ST to PRESTON ST, starting on 2024-03-04
  • TOWER RD from TOWER TERR to SOUTH ST, starting on 2024-03-04
  • ROSEBANK AVE from QUINPOOL RD to NORWOOD ST, starting on 2024-02-26

Cogswell Construction Project
This major construction project, one of the biggest HRM has ever undertaken, is well underway.  Construction will take three years.  More info can be found here:  https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/regional-community-planning/construction-projects/cogswell-district-redevelopment

Community Events and Info

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a time to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of women, girls, gender diverse and non-binary people while raising awareness that gender inequality still exists in institutional biases, stereotypes and discrimination. This year, the Government of Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2024 is Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress. It’s a call to action and a reminder that gender equality is one of the most effective ways to build healthier, more prosperous, and more inclusive communities.   We all have a role to play in building a future where everyone can reach their full potential.

Learn more about upcoming events in celebration of International Women’s Day at Halifax.ca as details become finalized. Visit https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en/commemorations-celebrations/international-womens-day/2024-theme.html for more information.

RAMADHAN – March 10 TO April 8
The evening of March 10 will mark the first night of Ramadhan, a month-long sacred observance for Muslims around the world and here at home. Ramadhan is a month of fasting, reflection and prayer and charity. Throughout this time, observants will undertake a spiritual journey of prayer and fasting every day from dawn until sunset, ending the evening of April 8.  The celebration of Eid al-Fitr, also referred to as Eid and translates to “Holiday of Breaking to Fast,” is one of the most important days of the Islamic year and will start on April 9 and continue for three days. To all those celebrating, Ramadhan Kareem!

On March 18, we are celebrating Transit Operator and Worker Appreciation Day! It’s a day to recognize the commitment to keeping our communities moving and appreciate our heroes behind the wheel. Thank you to all of those who help us reach our destinations safely – from our operators and workers, your professionalism and dedication to our residents and public transit system do not go unnoticed!

March 20 marks International Francophonie Day – a day to proudly celebrate and recognize our vibrant Francophone community. March 20 has been observed worldwide as International Francophonie Day since 1988. The date commemorates the establishment of the Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique, the precursor to the International Organization of La Francophonie, the organization representing countries and regions where French is the first or customary language. Today, with 300 million speakers worldwide, French is the fifth most spoken language in the world; La Francophonie has 88 member states and governments. Check back on www.halifax.ca this month for more information on how you can celebrate our Francophonie neighbours, friends and colleagues and their culture and contributions!

Community Access Program (CAP)
Starts Feb 12, 2024 | Online Application

Independent Living Nova Scotia’s (ILNS) Community Access Program (CAP) is a 9-week pre-employment program perfect for anyone who is:

  • 18-24 years old
  • Living in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM)
  • Wanting to connect with their community
  • Looking to develop life and employment skills

Those interested can apply for CAP at the following link: https://ilns.ca/cap/ or get in touch with program staff at cap@ilns.ca or 902-453-0004.

Community Grants Program 2024-25
Deadline April 1, 2024

Halifax Regional Municipality’s Community Grants Program will begin accepting applications from registered non-profits and charities located within Halifax Regional Municipality. The Program will open January 3, 2024, for the 2024-2025 program. The application deadline is April 1, 2024. Application forms and program guidebooks are available from:

Organizations considering an application to the Program are encouraged to review the guidebook.  For further information, please email  nonprofitgrants@halifax.ca or call 902.497.0479

2b theatre – Red Like Fruit
April 3-21 |. Bus Stop Theatre, Gottingen Street

Searing new play about consent is already a finalist for the prestigious Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2b theatre company produces the world premiere of the newest play from Canadian Governor General’s Award-winning sensation, Hannah Moscovitch at the Bus Stop Theatre in Halifax from April 3-21. The show is the feature programming piece for 2b’s annual SPRINGboard mini-fest. Moscovitch calls the play an opportunity to “Mess with the audience’s feelings about what role the male gaze and voice plays in defining how women feel about their lives.” She says: “I’ve realized the patriarchy has made it easy for me to doubt myself, but somehow, when a man says something is true, I accept it.” The play features a man telling a woman’s story. Lauren asks Luke to narrate her life: her fraying mental health, the growing sense of unease she feels in the world. While Lauren’s been reporting on a high profile case of domestic violence, she’s been thinking back with eerie ambivalence on a set of sexual events from her adolescence, and something in her has started to crash. Soon, Lauren can no longer comprehend her own decisions and desires (like why she asked Luke to narrate for her in the first place). Red Like Fruit interrogates the many contradictions and complexities of complicity, consent, patriarchy and traumatic memory in the post #MeToo era. Tickets are available online here.

Service Canada Supports Communities Online
Does someone in your community need help with Employment Insurance (EI), Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Old Age Security (OAS), and more?  Are you or one of your community members a person with a disability or need extra support to get Service Canada benefits and services? Access support online at https://eservices.canada.ca/en/service/  Does someone in your community need a Social Insurance Number or confirmation of their SIN? Access help at  https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/sin.htm

Seniors Snow Removal Program
Applications Open Now
There’s no denying it – winter is on its way. There is a snow removal program available for seniors (ages 65 and older) and persons with disabilities to help ensure safe access to your home. The Senior Snow Removal is a YMCA program provided in partnership with Halifax Regional Municipality, and oversees the clearing of front and back steps, walkways, ramps, and access to fuel tanks. Please note that the program does not include driveway clearing. Those 65+ or persons with disabilities must also meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • the participant must reside in a single dwelling home which is owned or rented;
  • the participant, also including all individuals who live on the premises aged eighteen or older, must not exceed a total gross household income of $32,000, and;
  • the participant may not be a landlord.

The Senior Snow Removal operates on a first-come, first-serve basis. When maximum capacity is reached, the program will come to a close and individuals will be placed on a waitlist. Call 902-483-3678 for more information. You can download the 2023/2024 application package online by visiting: https://ymcahfx.ca/communityymca/ymca-senior-snow-removal/

Help Identify hazards, risks and vulnerabilities in our communities (HRVA)
Underway Now

Are you concerned about how emergencies and disasters could impact your community The municipality is seeking input from residents on hazards, risks and vulnerabilities across communities. Feedback will inform the development of a comprehensive Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment. For complete details, visit: shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/hrva.


How can we help?

311 – HRM’s Call Centre
HRM’s call centre is open 7 days a week, Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to respond to routine inquiries and complaints from HRM residents. Please use this service since it helps HRM keep track of issues that are of concern to residents. More info here: https://www.halifax.ca/home/311

Call my office
Call my office for assistance with your municipal issues. Please try 311 first, and when you call the office have your 311 reference number ready. Vicki Palmeter is my Constituency Coordinator. Vicki can be reached by email at Victoria.palmeter@halifax.ca or by phone at 902-490-2012.

Call or email me
I’m always available to help residents. Email is always better than a phone call, as I am often in meetings and much of the time I cannot answer the phone. If Victoria or 311 cannot assist you, please email me at waye.mason@halifax.ca or call 902.430.7822.